America: (False) Promises of a Better Tomorrow – Capitalist Hierarchy

The ability to rise through the ranks of corporate America, to secure a future with a guaranteed higher standard of living, is only affordable to those able to pay the initial cost and thus, a preordained corporate capitalist hierarchy is constructed in which the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.

The American People are Deluded into Working for the Profits of the Rich

The American Dream promises of a better tomorrow in which the masses, through hard work and determination, will be able to rise through the ranks and secure their own stature in society as an individual of wealth and comfort.  Nevertheless, this promise is one constructed and manipulated by the elites and their propaganda machines to perpetuate the constant work and toil of the masses, the people who represent their slave-like workers. Living check-to-check, the people are deluded into believing that things will get eventually improve and that their sweat and tears will be rewarded with the ability to purchase their own white picket fenced house and sports cars.  This delusion has allowed for the capitalist hierarchy to proliferate, allowing the elites consolidate their hold on the power structure and even spread their grasp to both the political and financial infrastructure of the American system.  With the voice of the people being suppressed by their own complicit behavior, the elites have a free reign to buy the voice of the politicians and ensure their profits rise higher and higher at the expense of the people at home and the people abroad, those targeted for their resources and cheap labor.  The situation is exacerbated by the reality that the only viable option to infiltrate the elite circle of corporations and banks is to have the wealth and power to buy into it.  The system of connections and bribes has essentially preordained those who will be able to rise into the class of elites, whilst condemning the majority to languish in an eternal purgatory of struggle and strife for a standard of living based on check-to-check living.  The free world, as promised by the American Dream, is sold to the masses as a beacon of hope in which America is believed to be the land of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Yet, the reality is a nation founded on exploitation and manipulation to ensure that the majority of people sold on this pipe dream are also the ones most adversely affected by this exploitative system.  Promising that with hard work, all dreams are possible in the US, the elitists are able to convince tens of millions of people to struggle on in the workforce to help move the great American behemoth towards material gains only enjoyed by the elites in their lavish homes.  These hollow ideals are fed to Americans from the cradle to the grace, but the extent of capitalist greed spreads to other nations courtesy of the propagandistic Voice of America (VOA) and the United States Information Agency (USIA).  Evidently, the corporate controlled propaganda machine is powerful and more than capable of convincing millions around the world that the American Dream is an actuality and can be secured by surrendering to an established norm of corporate control.

“I seen a lot of rip-offs in my life.  The rip-offs of the old and of the young, the weak, the sick, the never known.  Stabbed repeatedly in the back by the Wall Street suit.  The Washington hack.  Lining up their pockets with the peoples’ cash and laughing all the way to the bank.” – Anti-Flag, “The Economy is Suffering, Let it Die”

America is a nation founded, built and sustained on exploitation of people.  It is through the elitist control of the system’s assets that the promises of a better tomorrow keep the engines of war and profit going, keep the great beast complicit and working, and keep the nation in a perpetual state of blissful ignorance, so as to ensure the status quo remains.  The elite are permeated within the halls of Congress, Wall Street and the elitist oriented Higher Educational institutions of America; three bastion of elitist values that illustrate the American ideal – disparity of wealth and power.  The American people toil hours, day in and day out, striving to pursue the unattainable carrot that has been placed in front of them by the lofty elitist bastions.  Their blood, sweat and tears are being exhausted on ensuring that the lavish lives of the elites does not change, consolidating a standard of living for the elites that is defined by ultimate wealth and power.  The extent to which the capitalist hierarchy controls the path of the nation in favor of the rich is illustrated in the numerous foreign imperial exploits, as well as the bailouts.  The American people were forced to work longer and harder in the few jobs available in order to maintain a standard of living that was barely livable before.  Rather than lending a helping hand to reward the efforts of the people keeping the American infrastructure aloft, the policies of the American government turned towards its priority – bailing out the corrupt banks and corporations responsible for the recession, for the despair that had rooted itself in the hearts of the people forced out their homes.  The government bailed out Wall Street with a recovery package of $13 trillion, money that came from the American people and added to a national debt already astoundingly high.  This national debt has also become a tool through which the elites attempt to waylay the people, forcing the masses to sacrifice more to higher taxes, less medical coverage, and cutting the few government programs that were a slight relief for the toiling masses.  As the American people are denied their healthcare, provided to all in every other industrialized country, the disparity in wealth and power grows every wider.  The gap between the small percentage of elites at the top and rest of the populace is more than ever before.  The Federal Reserve reports that the top seven banks in American have over $10 trillion in assets recorded in over 14,000 created ‘subsidiaries’ to avoid taxes.  So saying, the top 1% hide more than the total annual economic output of American and Japan combined.  This overt disparity leaves millions without homes, food and bare essential medical coverage.

“The richest of the rich, dine in fancy chic cafes, not a worry all their days.  The cost of luxury, throughout empires of history, is vengeance from those empire enslaves.” – Anti-Flag, “No Paradise”

The ruling class of elites does whatever it can to retain as much capital as they possible can, eagerly striving to gorge their financial coffers at the expense of the people subjecting themselves to a myriad of unfriendly labor conditions and with virtually no socially conductive safety net.  The oppressed and deluded people have been trained to have blind and unwavering faith in a capitalist hierarchy in which they will never prosper.  The economic system that dominates the American society is not built to sustain all or even most of its populous; rather, it is catered for the extremely wealthy and their families and thus justifying their corrupt capitalist takeover of all assets to ensure the masses remain chasing the myth of the American Dream.  77% of working Americans are living check-to-check, embodying the notion of rugged individualism that has been inculcated into their hearts and minds.  Yet the notion of rugged individualism has become a flawed concept manipulated and warped to adhere to the pro-labor message of the propaganda machines.  The elite controlled propagandistic corporations demand the people work day in and day out, pay 30% or more in taxes and receive little in return – meanwhile the elites pay 15% or less in taxes on things like capital gains and hefty inheritances.  It is their unquestioned power and wealth that has allowed them to proliferate the pro-rich policies of the American government, financing campaigning and determining which wealth candidate will be in the primaries.  The conservative capitalists have become the puppeteers of an entire nation, ensuring the road forward will remain one in which they profit and the poor do not.  Their control of the corporate based government, corporate media and the vertical economy, has allowed for them to dictate the national priorities.

“One trillion dollars could buy a lot of bling.  One trillion dollars could buy most anything.  One trillion dollars buying bullets, buying guns.  One trillion dollars in the hands of killers, thugs.” – Anti-Flag, “One Trillion Dollars”

In retrospect, the American people are deluded into a false sense that better days are coming by a system of propaganda controlled and operated by a small class of wealthy elites whose objectives are to perpetuate their profits and perpetuate the widening disparity that keeps the workers at bay.  The erroneous belief that America’s system is conductive to the creation and sustaining of prosperity for all is an American myth designed to continue the onward march of the great beast at the behest of the controlling capitalists.

Syria: Chemical Weapons – What Can the International Community Do?

The Syria conflict has gained renewed intensity after the al-Assad regimes announced its willingness to utilize its stockpile of chemical weapons if the international community were to militarily involve itself; thus ensuring that international activity in the region will not surpass mere sanctions and also suggests that the al-Assad regime may be feeling the pressure of the various opposition groups within Syria.

Despite the Confirmation of Biological Weapons, the International Community Still Can’t Do Anything

Though Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons has been an open secret for the past 4 decades, the Assad’s regime’s announcement is a direct confirmation that Syria does indeed have a chemical weapons arsenal at their disposal.  The announcement targeted the international community, stating that if any foreign intervention in Syria’s civil war would be met with the deployment of chemical weapons.  The weapons include mustard and sarin gases, as well as cyanide, and are capable of being deployed by aircraft, surface-to-air missiles and rockets.  The announcement has sparked renewed animosity towards the regime, as well as towards the eastern powers that still persist in supporting the Assad regime, such as Russia and China.  Though the announcement does spark another international dilemma to be confronted if the community were to begin renewed intervention-talks, it does not present any new looming threat for the opposition groups still fighting throughout the Syrian country.  As the perpetuating conflict in Aleppo demonstrates, the opposition groups are utilizing a hit-and-run, urban-guerrilla warfare against the security forces of the regime.  The chemical weapons are poorly suited for such close-quarters style combat; rather, these weapons are generally most effective against mass formations in open country.  This does pose a problem for neighboring anti-Assad countries, such as Turkey.  Turkey has remained a proponent of direct military involvement and has, in the past, deployed reinforcing troops along its borders and has run military-training exercises as a show of force.  So saying, the foreign powers that constitute the ‘Friends of Syria’ contact group are those most threatened by the weapons and it is for this reason that the recurring hopes for further foreign assistance to the people of Syria will most likely dwindle away again.  Nevertheless, Assad forces have killed more than 15,000 protesters in an attempt to repress what it has called a ‘foreign conspiracy’.  Thus the efforts of diplomacy, embodied by the UN’s Annan plan, have gone nowhere and the humanitarian catastrophe escalates.

“No chemical or biological weapons will every be used.  Unless Syria is exposed to external aggression.” – Jihad Madkissi, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman

Russia, a remaining ally for the Syrian dictator, has refused to budge on its stance against unilateral international action, but they have also warned Assad against using the chemical weapons.  Russia’s defense of Assad can be explained by merely pointing a finger at the current President, that being Putin.  The repression enforced in Russia during the first round of presidential elections represents elements of the Stalin-esque era, as well as the heavy-handedness supporting by Russia and represented by Assad in Syria.  Combined with the installment of loyal office-holders in the regime by Putin, the regidity of the country to liberalization is evident.  So saying, Syria also represents to Russia its last stronghold in the Middle East and is also part of a lucrative bilateral trade agreement, thus making Russia very reluctant to lose such an ally.  Many have stated that if Russia were to withdraw its veto on any and all UN measures, then the international community would be able to respond with force against Assad.  However, the complexities of involvement go beyond the mere reluctance of Russia and the American gun-ho attitude of invasion without knowledge, as in Iraq, cannot be the strategy taken.  If Russia were to continue maintaining strong ties to the Assad regime whilst the international community launched a Libyan-style intervention, the result would be a proxy struggle mired in a protracted civil war.  With great powers funding militias on both sides, entering a period of escalated violence, civilian casualties would dwarf the already high numbers currently.  The situation then would not resemble the relatively successful Libyan intervention, but more so that of the Lebanon civil war which resulted in over 150,000 deaths over decades long span.  So saying, an internationally involved military conflict would not provide the sought after government transition.  As of now the Obama Administration, despite hot-headed criticism from GOP Presidential candidate Romney, has taken the correct diplomatic path towards Russia.  The American government continues to try and persuade Russia, if not to join the Friends of Syria contact group, then at leas ease its objections to sanctions.  The recurring request comes after another recent UN resolution for sanctions was vetoed by both Russia and China.  Nevertheless, even without Russia, the current sanctions and embargoes will bankrupt the Syrian regime – just not as swiftly as desired.

“Our duty today as Syrians is to unify for one goal, and that is to make our country free and democratic.” – Manaf Tlass, Free Syrian Army Brigade General

As said before, much blame for a lack of direct action by the Western community, is directed as Russia.  If Russia were to remove its support for Assad and thus allow the international community an unhindered approach to do as it pleases, the situation in Syria as a whole still represents a variable that is nigh unconquerable.  The international community was able to involve itself in Libya because it was a large country with a small population, allowing the rebel forces there to capture a significant stronghold.  Syria is roughly one-tenth the size of Libya and it has 3 times as many people.  Moreover, the rebel forces in Syria have not been able to take control of any significant part of the country.  A majority of the Syrian population lives in or around Damascus and Aleppo, both of which remain under the regime’s general control.  The Syrian rebels have been able to launch sporadic attacks, but poor organization and a lack of unity has made expansion and coordination impossible.  Elements of al-Qaeda and other religious extremists are fighting with the rebels, as well as members of the country’s various minority groups – Christian, Druze and Kurdish groups.  This divided group stands under the umbrella name of the Syrian National Council, which faces a loyal Alawite hierarchy.  There has been no signs of high-level dissent, mainly due to the connection between the Alawite dictator and the fact that all key military and intelligence posts are held by Shi’ites as well.  There loyalists have remained supportive because they know that in a post-Assad Syria, they will likely be massacred.  The scenario was seen in Libya where Qaddafi loyalists were executed without trial.  Evidently, the Assad regime still remains military strong and thus an international-militaristic-coalition would not be the correct response to topple the regime.

“It would be morally far more satisfying to do something dramatic that would topple Assad tomorrow.  But starving his regime might prove the more effective strategy.” – Fareed Zakaria, Editor-at-Large of TIME Magazine

In retrospect, the international community must stand behind its current plan to constrict the Syrian regime financially, through a series of stricter embargoes and sanctions.  Though Russia and China remain allies to Bashar al-Assad, their support is not the key element in keeping the international community from entering into Syrian with guns blazing.  The reality is that the international community cannot, or at least should not, become militarily involved because of the uncertainty of the Syrian situation represented by a fractured opposition and because Assad does hold a key deterrence tool, that being a large arsenal of chemical and biological weapons.

 

America: Corporate Financed Campaigning – Citizens United

The corporate involvement in the political infrastructure of the American government has been made evident by the ruling behind Citizens United and the granted permission for special interest groups to finance politicians and thus replace the accountability they have to the American people.

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling has Undercut Political Accountability

The hyper-partisan nature of the political system has proliferated throughout the years, resulting in a decaying social atmosphere in which media propaganda deludes the masses into similar polarized spheres represented by the Tea Party and MoveOn.org.  This alienation has allowed for the public to fall victims to complacency and subservience, allowing for corporations and special interest groups to better consolidate their hold on the political agenda and decision-making process. The political system was instituted as a source for equal representation through which the peoples’ voice would be heard and adhered to.  Now, modern life is defined by the complicit public agreeing to a silent compact to keep up pretenses and allowing for the mega-donations of corporations to usurp all control.  The corporate takeover is not defined by a sudden rise of donations, financing and back-room deals; rather, the presence of corporate influence has been prevalent throughout the defining history of the American nation.  Nevertheless, the unbridled corporate and political greed has now been embodied by the 2010 Supreme Court decision on Citizens United which has now resulted in millions of dollars funding corrupt politicians favoring profit-seeking business interests.  The 2010 decision was followed by a report from the Center of Responsive Politics which showed that unidentifiable special interest groups financed pro-business Republicans with over $117 million, whilst Democrats were working with a budget of merely $13 million.  This disparity in spending overcame Democratic fundraising edge in 2010 among candidates and party committees, helping Republicans win a US House majority and increase their numbers in Senate.  Campaigns are no longer waged between publicly financed candidates and their political platforms.  They are no waged by shadowy attack groups posing as social welfare organizations.  With corporations being able to wield unlimited power and influence on the political system, politicians are now free from public accountability.  Thus, the ruling has resulted in targeted speech suppression, taking away the influence of the people and allowing politicians to have a corporate safeguard to protect them from a volatile public opinion.  So saying, the definition of democracy has been sold to corporations to be redefined as they seem fit. Evidently, the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission has now made election at every level of US government a sham proceeding.

“When there are secrets that we don’t know, then the ideal they pass as freedom in this country is fake.  When we are left with no right or no voice to choose, then we’re not living in a free and democratic state.” – Anti-Flag, “What You Don’t Know”

With a 5-4 majority, the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment protects corporate and union funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections.  The decision marks a radical chance in the electoral procedures, turning federal elections into a new form of democracy ruled by the corporate state.  The working class voters are likely to find it nigh impossible to influence lawmakers in competition with mega-donations from giant groups.  As the people work and struggle under receding economic conditions, the corporations have been provided with a board protection plan through which they can ensure the perpetuation of a corporate-capitalist run state and ensure the perpetuation of their profits at the expense of the people.  Among the business interests whose free speech rights the Supreme Court established in the decision are CIGNA HealthCare, Massey Energy Company, Halliburton, Tokyo Electric Power Company and Saudi Aramco, among countless others.  CIGNA HealthCare refused to pay for a life saving treatment for 14 year old Nataline Mary Sarkisyan who had recurrent leukemia.  The survival rate for her, after a liver transplant, was 65% and yet CIGNA HealthCare stated that it did not cover services considered experimental, investigational, and/or unproven to be safe and/or effective for the patient.  Their rejection cam after doctors at the UCLA medical center, including the head of its transplant unit, wrote a letter state the procedure was neither experimental nor unproven and called upon CIGNA to urgently review its decision.  Sarkisyan’s family filed murder charges against its insurer but the case was thrown out by the US Supreme Court.  Massey Energy Co. is another enterprise responsible for the deaths of 29 mine-workers at the Upper Big Branch Mine in southern Virginia when basic safety concerns were set aside for profits.  The foreign group represented by Tokyo Power Company are those who were in charge of operating their General Electric designed nuclear reactors at Fukishima Daiichi despite warnings, according to Wikileaks, from the International Atomic Energy Commission of serious safety concerns.  The last company is Saudi Aramco, a state own national oil company of Saudi Arabia which stands watch over the heart of global capitalist pursuits.  Saudi Aramco was responsible for the deployment of military troops against an Arab Spring related uprising in Bahrain in an attempt to protect their privatization of the nation’s resources.

“Bred into silence by television sets, accepting lies from media so soon we will forget the lives that we spend as workers for the rich.   You work so much, there’s not time left to realize that you’re in a fucking ditch.” – Anti-Flag, “The Truth”

With the elections approaching and campaigning intensifying, the masses are victim to a blitzkrieg of images and ads propagated by broadcasts and biased media to skew their opinions and berate political opponents with criticisms and falsehoods.  Secret groups, labeled as social welfare organisations and unions, are given billions in mega-donations to run political attack ads to ensure the corporate-bought Washington hack is the victor.  Reinforcing the ideal that the elections have become a sham-proceeding, the Supreme Court’s decision has allowed for these corporations to essentially rig elections by permitting these groups to propagate ads that need not necessarily represent the truth.  The concept of biased media and proliferated lies is not uncommon, the masses are witness to lies and false-charges on every and any major news source.  Nevertheless, the ability for political attack ads to broadcast locally and nationally deceitful lies is clear evidence of the failure of democracy in the American system.  The purpose of information is to create an informed voting public, an educated electoral base of constituents, which is enshrined in America’s civic values and governing statues such as the Freedom of Information Act and federal and state campaign donor disclosure laws.  Yet, the Supreme Court’s decision has opened a flood-gate of corporate schemes that have laid waste to these pretenses and have allowed corporations to break the peoples’ minds with false ads and manipulate their votes and opinions.  Senator Mitch McConnell has led the fight for corporate funding in politics, illustrating his beliefs that informed democracy is actually anti-democratic, as disclosing these multi-million dollar mega-donations would be violating free speech rights.  His support has allowed for tax exempt groups such as Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the Chamber of Commerce to run supposed issue based attack ads without being subjected to the donor disclosure requirement by the Federal Elections Commission.  So saying, the Chamber of Commerce has become infamous with independent organizations such as PolitiFact and FactCheck.org that have investigated many of their supposed issue based attack ads, finding that a majority are ‘pants on fire’ and contain a plethora of falsehoods and inconsistencies.  The most notable example is in Florida where Connie Mack has spent $13 million to secure 3 weeks of television to propagate ads from the Chamber of Commerce that suggest current Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has aided President Obama in cutting $500 million from Medicare, a statement that was debunked by both PolitiFact and FactCheck.org.  The Supreme Court has accelerated the corporate takeover by giving them free reign of campaign finances and giving them access to media sources to proliferate any false ads that they desire.

“Just take a look around the world and you’ll find that nearly all mass media are owned and controlled by a handful of conservative capitalists.  We must devise and implement alternative methods of distributing our news, our information, our ideas.” – Anti-Flag, “Underground Network”

In retrospect, the decision by the Supreme Court not only marks a transitioning point in which corporations have become truly the sole source of power and influence in politics, but is also marks the general negligence for the public and the democratic values represented by the American statutes.  The Citizens United ruling has consolidated the capitalist hierarchy of the nation, allowing the rich 1% to influence and control the greedy politicians and buy hours of broadcasts.  Sponsoring public division, manipulating peoples’ opinions, and affirming a divided political arena, there exists no blockade to the corporations’ swarming takeover of all assets of the American infrastructure.

America: The All-Seeing ‘Big Brother’ – Government Surveillance

The iron fist of blood and empire has seized hold of the Stars and Stripes, raging a silent war against the democratic foundation of the nation’s people whose rights and liberties have been done away with and replaced with a repressive totalitarian order that, endorsed by the plutocracy, moves rapidly towards the enslavement of its own people.

The American Government’s Intelligence Community Parallels the Orwellian ‘Big Brother is Watching You”

Despite the constitutional protection and basic human rights that are supposedly guaranteed to the citizens of the American nation; there exists an overbearing hand that promises just reparation, but instead delivers a redefined notion of democracy through which the powers that be are able to monitor, seize and control the assets of the nation in order to repress and essentially enslave the people into a new form of complicit servitude.  Through the perpetuating false flag of terrorism, the war lobbies and corporate oligarchs have secured their hold on the government and undercut the power of the people over their government.  Without the tools given and cemented in the Constitution, such as government accountability and the right to protest, the American people stand as blind sheep as their sons and daughters are sent to foreign lands to fight a war for the ruling plutocracy.  As the soil of foreign lands are reaped for corporate profit, the government installs regime change to institute a new form of imperialism to secure a lasting relationship of foreign imposition and corruption.  The evidence is clear, but the American populous stands silent in fear of having the repressive eye of government enforcement turned domestically.  With the CIA, FBI, NSA and other government agencies becoming mercenaries for hire, the American populous has already fallen into the tyrannical regime that has been installed abroad.  The government has already superseded constitutional boundaries and has begun its assault on civil liberties to establish an empire of intelligence gathering and repressive prosecution.  The huddled masses have fallen complicit and complacent as re-education and prison camps are constructed in their suburbs, being occupied by civilians with familiar faces and familiar names.  With citizens being labelled as terrorists and conspiracists, the government has coalesced into a system run by the rule of martial law with no borders.  The rise of the totalitarian regime was not an over-night event; rather, the path has been secured by the evolving propaganda machine begun by Wilson and used by leaders like Nixon and Reagan to justify military build-up and crippling taxation.  Continuing under George W. Bush and Obama, the passing of the Patriot Act, the military contract to Halliburton’s subsidiary KBR to build domestic detention camps, Operation Falcon (I, II, and III), the creation of the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit, and the passing of the NDAA; the police state in the US was given a foundation through which the domestic populous was being reduced into a herd of subservient fodder for the corporate controlled machines.  So saying, this post focuses on the rise of corporate bought intelligence community being turned inwards and monitoring the actions of the domestic populous, thus embodying ‘Big Brother is Watching You’.

“He said don’t take this for the way it is.  You better watch out son, when you give in.  Before you know it, the friends you trust will have stabbed you in the back.” – Anti-Flag, “If You Wanna Steal (You Better Learn How to Lie)

The regime being instituted in America is democratic at face-value, leaving the separation of powers and popular elections; but these institutions fail to provide the values and principles of liberal democracy through which a government, for and by the people, is intended to represent.  Rather, the currency of the nation is currency, valuing capital and pursuit of such greed at the cost of the peoples’ liberties and rights.  Dissolving the notions of democracy for the purpose of plutocracy, the government has been mutated into an overbearing hand of control.  With control of all assets of the infrastructure, ‘Big Brother’ has empowered itself through various means of the law.  The argument being provided for the infringement of peoples’ lives and liberties is that of national security, the ambiguous and heterogeneous term whose definition relies on special interests groups.  The US Constitution provides the American people with certain protections and freedoms, of which the majority are being violated by the public’s complicit behavior to the government’s seizure of more power.  The premise of national security is to protect the interest of the nation, an interest intended to be reflected by the majority of the population and their representatives.  In the case of America, violating civil liberties to protect the nation is contradictory.  When a person’s rights are violated, it harms every person in the nation and thus the nation.  So saying, the argument betrays the reality that the federal powers are not interested in the protection of the people and the nation; rather, the federal powers are interested in profiteering at the expense of the people.  The Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court is an example of the system undermining the powers of the people and giving special interest groups and their lobbyists even more power in the government.  The decision not only undermines the influence of government accountability on government officials, but it reverses laws that limited the role of corporate money in federal elections, thus securing the plutocracy of narrow business leaders.  This decisions embodies the greater reality that corporations are able to fund and manipulate political decision-making in their favor, thus turning the government into their own omniscient tool to control and subdue the masses into their corporate-led herds.

“Join now!  Don’t wait!  Make death, your date!  Salute and fight!  Fight for the wealth of the few!  Wrapped in a flag and sold to you, sold as Freedom.  It’s up to you to see through the lies of those who’ve led us to endless world strife.” – Anti-Flag, “Sold As Freedom”

The interests of these corporate leaders is to profit at the expense of domestic and foreign peoples’, a means to be achieved through consolidating their power on the government by controlling and quieting the public.  The Freedom of Information Act has allowed the America’s Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to release documents that report that technology, such as cell phones, are used as surveillance tools to encroach on the public’s privacy.  The data, calls, phone numbers, photos and electronic locations, on a cell phone are being turned over to authorities without a warrant and the service providers profit from the sale.  Moreover, the citizens pay for the service and pay taxes to fund the local and federal departments who are being sold this information; thus, the public is investing in agencies dedicated to infringing on their privacy and enslaving them to a constant surveillance system.  The infringement of rights and liberties by the government for purposes of ensuring a complicit and silent public is also evident in the Patriot Act.  Initially passes under the Bush administration in response to 9/11, the Obama administration signed a 4-year extension of three of its key provisions: roving wiretaps, searches of business records and conducting surveillance on individual suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups.  Evidently the provisions being perpetuated are clear illustrations of the government’s vagrant disregard for civil liberties and gives the federal government the ability to spy on any and all citizens under the ambiguous terms, “terrorist-related activities”.  Among the tools at the government’s behest are internet service providers and cable companies.  Both of which receive federal money to disclose all the information of their customers.  The name, address, local and long distance telephone billing records, bank account and credit card numbers are provided to the government by the companies, in return for tax payer dollars.  One program still continuing from its birth under Bush’s Patriot Act is Stellar Wind.  The program is intended to mine a large database of communications of American citizens, basing a NSA Data Center in Utah.  The purpose was to intercept, decipher, analyze and store vast swath’s of the world’s communications in the center, thus becoming the government’s property to do with as it sees fit.  In short, the NSA is building the country’s biggest spy center and the $2 billion facility in Utah is to be finished in 2013 and is being constructed by businesses with ties to the former Bush administration, thus demonstrating the profiteering stance of corporations in the intelligence takeover of the public arena.

“The phrase world leaders does not describe the heads of state.  Those few in power, work only for the corporate sake.  No action, no interest, no humanity at all.  As the corporate towers rise up, they watch the people fall.” – Anti-Flag, “No Borders, No Nations”

Though Bush personally oversaw the rise of government power in his counter-terrorism policies, the Obama administration has also revamped efforts to narrow in on domestic targets.  The recent media coverage of the ‘Kill List’ list has seized international attention and demonstrated the dissolution of habeas corpus for Americans considered a threat in foreign lands.  The President has launched an assassination campaign and has made the global arena a war zone, thus signifying that all those killed are war-time casualties and reducing the recorded number of civilian casualties.  Nevertheless, domestically the passing of the NDAA for 2012 marked the passing of Title X, Subtitle D, sub-sections 1021 and 1022 which allowed for the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process or warrant.  Many of the suspects arrested have been shipped to Guantanamo Bay, others have possibly been sent to detention and re-education camps built by Halliburton’s KBR under the Bush years.  The new marks a clear parallel to the edicts of totalitarian regimes elsewhere in the world.  The new law, violating basic human rights and constitutional liberties, allow government agencies to inherently spy on daily routines and activities of Americans and then possibly detain them in Guantanamo, a clearly inhumane prison camp.  The deceleration of the NDAA has also allowed for the writing of legislation, “FAA Re-authorization and Reform Act of 2012”.  The legislation would allow for the military’s drone program to establish itself in American skies.  Though not the militaristic nature of those involved in the assassination campaign of Obama’s ‘Kill List’, these micro-drones are used by the NSA to aid in the surveillance and monitoring programs within the US.

“Welcoming with open arms and open hearts, in the end they found their arms in shackles and their hearts town out.  This country named ‘America’ is built on graves.” – Anti-Flag, “Stars and Stripes”

In retrospect, the profiteering agenda of the plutocracy has been consolidated through the seizure of government away from the people and into the lining of their pocket books, maintaining a complicit and subdued public through an increasingly overbearing intelligence community.  Mirroring the Orwellian ‘Big Brother’, the policies of the government have seized assets of telephone companies, cable companies and use military technology to advance their surveillance and monitoring system through the American nation.  So saying, the American system has become a repressive hand of totalitarian control through which the narrow business interests of the ruling classes are able to prosper and advance their agenda through the infringement and violation of rights and liberties promised under the Constitution.

EU: Fiscal and Banking Integration – Cyprus Bailout

The Finance Chiefs of Germany, France, Italy and Spain have taken to the stage to discuss new plans for short-term and long-term management of fiscal and banking integration, coming after Cyprus becomes the fifth member of the common currency to request a bailout.

Cyprus Joins Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Greece under EU Umbrella

The finance ministers are meeting today to discuss closer union as laid out by a proposal from European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.  The document proposed greater fiscal union, which could lead to common debt being issued by the Eurozone countries.  There would also be banking union, with a single European banking regulator and a unified deposit guarantee scheme.  Among other proposals were limits on the amount of debt individual countries can take on, annual national budgets can be vetoed if they are likely to mean a county exceeding its debt limits, the possibility of the Eurozone borrowing money collectively could be looked into, a European treasury office to be set up to control a central budget and keep an eye on national ones, common policies on employment regulations and levels of taxation, joint decision-making with national parliaments to give it democratic legitimacy.  Though this seems to provide a groundwork for the progression of the Euro, many of the proposals are merely revisiting previous agreed upon regulations in the Stability and Growth Pact. These regulations failed in the past because of a coordinated supranational entity and a lack of enforcement.  The failure of the SGP came because Germany and France, the countries responsible for the EU and the creation of the pact, violated its restrictions on debt.  The Court of Justice (European Court of Justice) is an example of a supranational entity created to observe and ensure that EU laws, treaties and institutions are adhered to.  Through the infringement procedure, the ECJ is able to place a fixed or periodic financial penalty.  Nevertheless, this institution was not given the proper amount of authority into national areas of its members, thus making it unable to observe the political and fiscal matters of those countries that are now on the brink of default.  So saying, the current list of proposals are nothing entirely new but debates circulating about a joint finance ministry may provide the supranational entity needed to enforce and regulate the further integration needed for the progression of the EU.  In regards to steps towards effective integration, the European treasury would now be able to force Eurozone countries to make changes to their budgets to keep their deficit down, which previously was never enforced and merely left to the individual member states.

“Under these rules, the issuance of government debt beyond the level agreed upon in common would have to be justified and receive prior approval.  Subsequently, the Euro area level would be in a position to require changes to budgetary envelopes if they are in violation of fiscal rules, keeping in mind the need to ensure social fairness.” – Herman Van Rompuy, European Council President

One of the catching points for forward movement by the EU is the divide surrounding join borrowing, something that has kept Germany and France from being the dynamic partnership that so many previously assumed them to be.  It has generally been true that the EU’s movement has been driven forward when France and Germany are in step.  However, they are not in unison anymore.  There is a deep philosophical political divide between them, most evidently exemplified by the dissolution of ‘Mercozy” through the election of the socialist Hollande in France.  The divide of the EU on joint borrowing  is embodied by the concept of Eurobonds, which would be a way to allow countries that are currently unable to borrow money commercially to borrow at low-interest rates.  Some countries, largest of whom is Germany,have resisted this step unless there is much closer fiscal union.  The reason for that is that Eurobonds would have much the same effect as the original introduction of the Euro, which is that they would allow many government access to cheaper loans and therefore, without European supranational control over budgets, some countries would again take on unsustainable levels of debt.  So saying, the Eurozone’s third smallest economy, Cyprus, has become another member to apply for rescue loans.  The country is said to possibly need up to 10 billion Euros, more than half its 17.3 billion annual output.  This comes after Spain formally requested up to 100 billion Euros in rescue loans to recapitalize its banks weighed down by bad loans from a burst real estate bubble.  Both Spain and Cyprus are trying to avoid political humiliation and loss of sovereignty involved in a full state bailout program like those granted to Greece, Ireland and Portugal.  The approaching Brussels summit is expected to agree on a growth package pushed by France, worth around 130 billion Euros in infrastructure bonds, reallocated regional aid funds and European Investment Bank loans.  Spain, along with Italy, is likely to press at the summit for more urgent actions to lower borrowing costs and have proposed measures to reduce the difference in borrowing costs between Eurozone countries.

“The euro crisis is in some war mind-boggingly simple to solve…because it isn’t economics, it’s politics.  If Angela Merkel and her colleagues stood there together with the rest of the Euro area…and if they behaved as a true union, this crisis would be finished this weekend.” – Jim O’Neill, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management

Germany however, is remaining rigid on its stance that it should not finance  a country that indulged in excessive spending.  Because of her rigid stance, Merkel has been target of much criticism and some have suggest that Germany be the country that exists the Eurozone.  The support given is that Germany embodies the problem of the EU, the inability to balance polar opposites on the economic scale.  The periphery countries of the EU are the ones in debt and the ones facing default.  Not only is Germany’s economy inherently strong as a result of the high productivity of its workforce, its exports have added competitiveness because the Euro is undervalued as far as Germany is concerned.  As long as the rest of the Eurozone countries are locked in the Euro with Germany, the only way for them to become more competitive is through austerity measures that cut government spending, reduce welfare budgets, cut wages and raise unemployment.  These are the steps that have been taken for the past 2 years of the fiscal crisis and the aim has been to achieve export-led growth, like Germany.  As long as Germany remains in the Eurozone however, its hypercompetitive stance will make redundant the measures being taken , as the periphery countries will not be able to compete against the power house.  Nevertheless, the support for Germany’s exit may seem well based but its fails to address the fact that Germany is the only country keeping the Euro afloat, funding all bailout measures and without Germany and its seemingly endless pocketbook, the rest of the Eurozone would fall calamitously into a series of defaults and downgrades for years to come.  This would ruin the regional fiscal infrastructure, ruin the global markets, and dissolve international trade with many of the nations dependent on foreign investment.  In short, if Germany were to exit the Eurozone the other nations would be detrimentally affected, regardless the possibility to revert to Eurobonds.

Egypt: Mohammed Mursi and Egypt’s Foreign Relations

Islamist Mohamed Mursi was declared winner on Sunday of the run-off presidential election, becoming Egypt’s first freely elected president and now faces the overbearing power of the military council that has already curbed his powers as president and dissolved the previous Islamist-led parliament.

Mohammed Mursi’s Victory Represents the Continuation of the Revolution

The election of Egypt’s first democratically elected president has followed with euphoric jubilation, yet the hopes of the Egyptian revolution may fall short as President Mursi currently stands merely as a figurehead of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the military junta that maintains widespread control of the country.  So saying, Mursi faces an array of challenges at home and abroad.  So far, the democratic road-map for Egypt has been plagued with militaristic totalitarianism wielded by the military, an iron first that has dissolved the constitution and the democratically elected Islamist parliament.  Under the interim constitutional deceleration, the military council has ensured that it retains the power to make laws and budget decisions until a new constitution is written and a new parliament is elected.  Alongside the challenges to overcome the repressive hold of the military, Mursi also inherits a struggling economy, with widespread poverty, high unemployment and its main source of investment, its tourism sector, is slow to come back after the political and social unrest that has haunted Egypt since its uprising against Mubarak.  The political situation remains very much unsettled amid lingering questions about whether the military will loosen its grip on power.  Its firm handed ruling has already led to mass demonstration and clashes with authorities, illustrating that th revolution still continues.  Although the Egyptians successfully ousted Mubarak and his regime, their jubilation was short-lived as military officials continued the same longstanding policy of using deadly force against domestic populous in cases of emergency.  Thus, the excitement following the election of the former Muslim Brotherhood member may be as short-lived as the cheers following the dispatching of Mubarak.

“The revolution goes on, carries on until all objectives of the revolution are achieved and together we will complete this march.” – Mohammed Mursi, President of Egypt

Although Mursi has resigned from the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party so as to represent all Egyptians, he does represent the more conservative Islamist view of the Brotherhood and thus raises many questions about international relations for Egypt.  His win has already had an immediate impact beyond Egypt’s borders, inspiring Islamists who have risen up against autocrats across the Middle East and swept to power in North Africa.  Among the fears of the international community is Iran and the possibility of Iran and Egypt forming diplomatic ties.  Iranian news agency Fars published an interview in which Mursi called for restoring severed ties to build strategic balance and though Egyptian officials denied the interview had taken place, it still illustrated the significant fears circulating about a Islamist revival in the region.  In the heart of these problems is the issue of Israel.  Egypt currently is in accord with Israel due to a 1979 peace treaty that was signed and consolidated under Hosni Mubarak.  Amid the cries of the Egyptian populous, however, are calls for the dissolution of the accord.  The viewpoints are ones shared by the many Islamist figures who have referred to Israeli leaders as ‘vampires’.  The relations of Israel with the rest of the Middle east are best illustrated by Iran, whose supreme leader has called for a perpetual cultural war against the Jewish nation and wishes to see them disappeared from the face of the planet.  The tension has recently been heightened by Iranian mission into uranium enrichment.  So saying, Israel and its Western allies have been very vocal about the continuation of the peace deal with Egypt.  Mursi has stated his intentions to preserve all national and international agreements, but his calls for unity and devotion to the representation of the will of the masses does pose a conflicting point as the masses are not in favor of said agreement.  The victory for the Muslim majority will likely strengthen the hand of Hamas in its fight against Israel because it will give it a moral boost.  The Islamist attitude has become charged after the victory.  Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi has stated that Palestinians look forward to future cooperation with Egypt and its supportive position for the Palestinian cause, once again depicting the balancing game that will be played by Mursi to appease the cultural diversity of the region and uphold his ties with the West and Israel.

“Israel appreciates the democratic process in Egypt and respects the results of the presidential elections.  Israel looks forward to continuing cooperation with the Egyptian government on the basis of the peace treaty between the two countries, which is a joint interest of both peoples and contributed to regional stability.” – Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister

In retrospect, the democratic election of Mursi represents a historic milestone for Egyptian transition to democracy but it is still a long way from stability and the successful installation of democratic institutions.  Before the declaration of the presidential winner, the military council warned of its intentions to use deadly force against protesters and dispatched more than 1,800 ambulances, which is a clear illustration of the problems that are still rampant in Egypt.  Along with this evident military oppressiveness, the Islamist resurgence does pose a problem for democratic progress and regional peace for the regions of North Africa and the Middle East.  So saying, Mursi faces a plethora of domestic and foreign issues that span from restoring a basic infrastructure in Egypt to maintaining peaceful ties with Israel.

America: Complicit Society – Loss of Government Accountability

The system of democracy propagated in  America is becoming increasingly unaccountable and privatized by narrow special interests that are making negligible the role of the populous and making negligible the system of checks and balances that was installed so as to prevent the rise of unchecked powers in the branches of government.

The ‘Demos’ Have Been Removed From American Democracy

As the great empires of Spain, Rome, Persia and Greece, the American empire’s stance on liberal democracy is waning and being replaced by the rise of narrow business interests concerned with ‘privateering’, militarization, imperialism and the corporatization of the US government.  The populous, given powers to hold accountable a government intended to represent their ethics and interests, has fallen silent and complicit to the growing privatization of government for profiting purposes of a narrow sect of special interest groups.  Rather than adhering to the wishes of the people, the government has turned a deaf ear to the cries of a public subjected to rampant inequality and political alienation.  The days of protest and demonstrations have fallen away, allowing the government to continue on its polarized path without fear of being reproached.  As silence falls onto the masses, the public begins to be victimized by ignorant conformity to polarized propaganda proliferated on mass media communications like FOX and MSNBC.  Conforming to said bias, the public begins to parallel the political consensus that is determined by the dictations of special interests groups that direct the progress, or lack thereof, for the American system.  So saying, this has resulted in an entire system structured around the special interest groups that control the politicians, who control the media, who then control the public.  This chain of events has resulted in the corporatization of the American government, illustrated by the profiteering business leaders that are able to advance policies advantageous to their own agenda.  Examples ranging from Halliburton to Blackwater/Xe are notorious for their connections within the political arena that have resulted in various contracts and schemes advancing their stocks and investments.  The public, already at the back and call of politicians and their corporate puppeteers, has been reduced to a herd meant to trample periodically in support of one or another policy put forth by the 1% of profiting elites.  They have become complicit in the destruction of their own government, adhering to policies unrepresentative of their interests and failing to rise above silent conformity and call for reform.  The age of popular movement was rekindled by the Occupy Movement, yet lacking organization and a coherent message resulted in a rapid decomposition of the movement.  Evidently, the peoples’ hold on the government has been stripped away by their own ignorant conformity to silent obedience to corporations that pledge their allegiance to profits and investments.

“This police state only benefits the rich because the cops give them power to keep us all quiet.  With police disguised as the guardians of the masses; we’ll never suspect their role to save the rich bastards!  You’re all complacent, you’re totally fooled, you bought the system’s lies, but they don’t protect you!” – Anti-Flag, “They Don’t Protect You”

Rather than protecting and empowering all citizens, ‘privateering’ is resulting in the government transferring this moral mission to private enterprises and protecting only those that can afford their higher, profit enhanced, costs.  The right to ‘life, liberty and pursuit of happiness’ will be subjugated to profits, once again equating to the dissolution of democracy and its ‘demos’ (people).  The loss of domestic involvement and political accountability has been caused by the manufacturing of consent through the media system, as well as through the fear of physically repressive consequences represented by the growing militarized police state within America.  The creation of the American republic was intended to create a nation based on the people, the ‘demos’.  There was meant to be an equal governance or accountability shared by all the people.  Nevertheless, the idea of government run by pluralism, in which the republic would be structures around the collective deliberation of all viewpoints existing in society, has fallen into decay because of the corporate belittlement of the public.  This is also exacerbated by their ability to create a gap between constituents and their representatives’ ears.  The special interest groups have removed the fear of accountability and the fear of electoral retribution from the decision-making process of politicians.  They have been able to conform society into a homogenized state of complicit behavior, a state of unquestionable loyalty and adherence, that allows for the nation to be run freely by said narrow interests.  This unbridled power was intended to be contained through the separation of governance into branches of government, but this has been dissolved by the totalitarian system of the ‘Pentagonized’ Presidency, an increasingly militaristic executive branch superseding legislation and judicial reviews through sheer force of will.  The other branches of government have become little more than puppets, voting in favor of pro-interest group policies so as to illustrate to the masses a political consensus that they too should support.  So saying, the principle of truthfulness will continue to be, and has been, increasingly replaced by a system of disinformation and corporate created facades that suggest policy decisions are in the interests of the nation.

“Join the corporate army.  For god and country, give up your life.  Don’t try to figure out what’s wrong or right, you never tried to stop, to look, to see that you’re exactly what you’re told to be.  You did everything fucking right.  You followed the system’s guiding light.” – Anti-Flag, “Their System Doesn’t Work For You”

During the Vietnam War, the public did not remain docile and complicit to the hawk behavior of the Johnson and Nixon administrations; rather, the public rose to the occasion and demonstrated their disenchantment with the war, the napalm bombing of Vietnamese villages and the rapid militarization following the Gulf of Tonkin incident.  The people rose and held accountable their public officials and demanded that the violence be brought to an end.  Even after the police state suppressed demonstrations through force, resulting in the death of 4 college students at Kent State, the people did not resign themselves to subservience.  Public opinion is a tool through which society can control the implementation of policies by their government.  This tool has not been utilized to full effect and has resulted costly perpetual wars, the implementation of repressive and corrupt policies, and the growing privatization of the government to groups that are able to line politicians pockets with cash.  This capitalist drive has driven the politicians from the voters who elected them, it has driven them from fulfilling their representative duties, and is resulting in the loss of accountability – the one viable tool given to the people.  This is exemplified by the fact that America has grown increasingly militarized and internationally repressive in order to seize control of assets and resources demanded by the corporations funding those policies.  An example of this privateering, resulting in militarization for purposes of imperialism, is Iraq.  Blackwater/Xe has tens of thousands of mercenaries and pays them around $450,000 a year.  Xe has made billions of dollars on the Iraq Occupations and two-thirds of that has been through no-bid contracts from the government.  Halliburton and Bechtel are another two notorious corporations that experienced huge profit margins from multi-billion dollar contracts given to them by the Bush administration to aid in the mass privatization of state-owned industries in Iraq.  The examples of corporate imperialism through political takeover are endless and extend from the Americas to Africa and to the Middle East.  The people have only stood by and offered their sons and daughters as cannon fodder for the corporate wars, complicit in the imperialist nature of the US and complicit in their own political negligible status.  Through the NDAA and Patriot Act, the government has subdued the American people and has repressed the air of activism.

“Everyone keeps asking, ‘Why’s he so pissed and so angry?’.  When there’s killing in this world, of men and womyn, boys and girls, for the sake of dividend gain.  These actions proclaimed in our name, turn Stars and Stripes into shades of Shame.” – Anti-Flag, “Gift from America: With Love, the USA”

In retrospect, the energy that used to exist in the American populous to demand representation and truth has dwindled away, along with their civil liberties and freedoms that are being infringed upon by corporate sponsored policies.  Privateering is destroying America’s democracy by eliminating the government’s duty to protect and empower all citizens through the democratic institutions installed by the founding fathers to prevent the very thing that is happening, the rise of unchecked government powers that are dedicated to capitalist gains.  Privateering is supplanting the government’s public mission with privatized protection and empowerment of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.